Having a book in my hands is a luxury. That is, sitting upright in a chair and reading an actual book is a luxury. Reading by daylight is almost a holy enterprise, the things vacations are made of. Even so, my consumption of literature has never been greater. When I’m driving, walking my dog, or doing housework I’m usually taking in an audiobook. Yes, it’s efficient, and who doesn’t love being read to?
The selection on Audible has become outstanding over the past seven or eight years, and I’ve been known to buy a book in multiple formats (i.e. Kindle with audio) so that I can finish up before a book club meeting. I confess I’ve even (I might sound totally crazy now) gotten used listening to books at 1.5x speed. It’s still possible to linger over the language… I’ll rewind in order to listen to favorite chapters over again.
So, is it any wonder producing EDEN as an audiobook was a high priority? My followers requested audio early on, and I could relate. I just hadn’t prepared myself for how FUN it would be. A fellow She Writes Press author, Anjali Mitter Duva, spent a lunch explaining her experience with the Audio Creation Exchange (ACX) platform. Sometimes that’s all it takes – a demystification of the process – and somebody else’s positive report, to get you going. ACX is an Audible platform that matches up authors and audiobook producers. It provides a standard contract with several transactional options, and simplifies the process to give authors access to hundreds of actors who do voice work for a living. I indicated whether I wanted a male or female, the age, and type of voice. I had about a dozen options such as: intellectual, serious, comedic, sexy, versatile, sarcastic and so on. (My wise guy husband suggested EDEN in a sexy voice.) After uploading a five minute script onto ACX (I chose scenes with several characters and a lot of dialogue), the project was out for audition.
That’s when the fun began. Within hours I was receiving emails, asking more information about the characters’ relationships in order to do the best possible audition. It was like being in the theatre giving direction. Within 24 hours, I received about 25 auditions. Listening to the auditions was amazing. Hearing my words come to life was powerful. The transition from the written word to the spoken word (and not in my own voice) expands the imagination. Scenes took on color, accompanied by a voice, a baby step toward a visual medium.
It took about five days for me to listen to all the auditions and narrow them down to a final 4 or 5. ACX provides the opportunity to check out an actor’s past work. So I spent time with some of the other books that my finalists had narrated. This was helpful. After pulling the trigger with a narrator, they have a day or so to read the first chapter for approval, then commit to a deadline for the entire project. I designated 6 weeks out for the completion of EDEN. My book is about 100,000 words and the final audiobook was estimated to be approximately 10 hours. I paid my narrator a rate per produced hour upon satisfactory completion of the recording. The other contractual option is to share future royalties.
I had a great time working with Marnye Young, EDEN’s narrator. We immediately started an email exchange and followed each other on social media. Is was fun to see her enthusiasm for EDEN through her posts. Once she provided the completed audiobook on ACX, I listened intently in order to give final approval. Listening to my book in its entirety was amazing. An avid audio customer myself, I’d be walking down the street listening on my iPhone, and know the next line that was going to be spoken a funky combination of hearing mixed with memory… because oh yeah… it’s my book!
After ACX completes quality control, EDEN: A Novel will be available on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. Voila!